by Deb Billado
The liberation of Afghanistan from the control of the ruthless Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies in 2001 marked a turning point in American foreign policy. If you attack our cities, if you prohibit your own citizens from owning a satellite dish, if you condone throwing vats of acid in the faces of unveiled women, then you have lost all right to call yourself a government.
And we, as a nation, assumed the moral responsibility of displacing a terrorist government and protecting a people who had been subjected and tortured by their own politicians up until that point, rather than represented by them. For the first time, we introduced them to the concepts of elections, a legitimate constitution, and equal rights.
Put simply, even in the face of international opposition, we moved Afghanistan into a post-Taliban era. We showed the world what it meant to stand up for human rights.
And in just two weeks, Joe Biden caused 20 years of sacrifice and service to crumble to the ground.
Biden called our hurried evacuation a “success”–even former Obama advisor David Axelrod has said Biden needs to accept the responsibility of his mistakes.
Before vacationing at Camp David, Biden called it “highly unlikely” that the Taliban would take back control. Today, every major city in Afghanistan is under Taliban authority.
Instead of handling the crisis, the spokesperson for the Taliban has taken more questions from the press than our own President has. Imagine that.
And most recently, the U.S. Press Secretary–who was also on vacation–refused to commit as to whether or not we would safely evacuate all Americans from the country.
The military achievements and civil struggle that brought this country back from the dark ages have been underdone and reversed in a record amount of time. Afghanistan is regressing and devolving back into a state run by theocratic dictators with unspeakable callousness and indifference to the well-being of their own citizens.
In. Just. Two. Weeks.
Perhaps most nauseating–and frightening–is that our President treats this as an accomplishment. He sees the civilians clinging to U.S. airships–desperate for an escape from the totalitarianism they know awaits them–as a success.
In two weeks, we have effectively conceded the War in Afghanistan to the Taliban.
But even more egregious is that we are dangerously close to a “draw” when it comes to the moral cause. After all, if the leader of our nation finds the institutionalized torture of other human beings to be a “successful” foreign policy decision, how we can claim any moral authority at all as a nation? How can we ever look into the eyes of the civilians in Afghanistan–and the citizens of our own country–that we left behind?
The answer: we can’t.
Until Joe Biden accepts accountability and responsibility for his unforgivable actions, our so-called political leaders deserve the reservoir of shame that this action has brought upon them. Joe Biden deserves it most of all.
The author is chair of the Vermont Republican Party. She lives in Essex Junction.